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Starr Initiates a Green Agenda

The new program that aims to compost all organic waste will be implemented throughout the company in 2012.

By Collin Keefe

Öko Enters the Yogurt Wars Armed With Green Power

In the heat of the current gelato-and-frozen-yogurt wars, you might not think there was room for another major frozen-dessert concept. But while Grom, Pinkberry, Yolato, and the rest compete in Manhattan, Öko, a greener-than-green business serving two flavors of Greek-style frozen yogurt in a store in which nearly everything is biodegradable, has tailored itself for Park Slope. The walls and counter are made of compressed sunflower seeds; the spoons and straws, from potato starch. Even the plates, though seemingly made of transparent plastic, are actually composed of processed corn. The toppings are also all-natural, mostly fruit — blackberries, mango, kiwi pieces, and the like — along with dry toppings like shaved coconut, sliced almonds, dark-chocolate chips, and dried Turkish apricots. “This is just our first store,” general manager Mateo Braghieri tells us. “We want to open more.” Because, you know, there aren’t enough high-powered frozen-yogurt chains around. Related: An Interactive Tour of the Country’s Greenest Food Business

Chinese Restaurant Refuses Pennies; Alan Richman at It Again

The controversy continues about a Chinese restaurant in the Bronx that refused to accept pennies: “Outside the restaurant, the block was abuzz with talk of spare change and spare ribs.” [NYT] Alan Richman manages to piss off another major American city with his GQ column, this time by denying San Francisco’s influence on American food. [Serious Eats] Related: Richman Kicks New Orleans While It’s Down [Grub Street] The Science Barge, with its hydroponic circulators, wind turbines, and other green technologies, will show New York that it’s possible to produce food in the city without net carbon emissions or pollution. [Metro NY]

An Interactive Tour of the Country’s Greenest Food Business

Maury Rubin has more on his mind than pretzel croissants. The chef-owner of bi-coastal branches of the City Bakery has become consumed of late with food miles, volatile organic compounds, and wax-lined coffee cups, those pernicious symbols of our disposable (but non-biodegradable) society. He has just opened the second outpost of Birdbath (code name: Sparrow), his pastry-shop side project that originated as a way to generate cash flow out of the front of his East Village commercial kitchen and has become, according to Rubin, “the greenest food business in the country.”